Guide to buying a riding hat

 Check your riding hat conforms to the latest safety standards

Check your riding hat conforms to the latest safety standards

Your riding hat is the most important piece of equestrian kit you’ll buy, so if you’re in the market for a new one, we're on hand help you make the safest choice

As much as we love them, we all know our four-legged friends can be unpredictable and riding is never going to be risk-free. It will come as no surprise that head injuries present the most serious danger, so make sure youre safe, not sorry by wearing a protective hat to the latest standards for riding and preferably when handling your horse too.

Thanks to the use of modern materials and designs riding hats are lightweight, well ventilated and look good too, as well as offering the very best protection to your head in the event of an accident. While there’s no law saying you have to wear a hat (unless you’r under 14 years old) we would always advice you do.

 Whatever discipline you do your hat has to fit correctly 

Whatever discipline you do your hat has to fit correctly 

Choosing a hat

With a huge choice of riding hats available it's important you buy the one that's going to meet your needs.  If you compete in certain diciplines, you'll need to check each dsicipline’s rule book so you buy the correct hat. It also comes down to personal choice whether you prefer a traditional looking riding hat, skull cap or perhaps one with a touch of bling.

Getting the right fit

Comfort and fit are essentail and it’s important to use a qualified hat fitter to help you find a hat that suits your head shape. Only a properly fitting hat rill provide you with the maximum level of protection in the event o a fall.

As a guide, your hat should;

  • Sit on your head just above your ears and eyebrows
  • It should fit snuggly all the way round your head but with no pressure on your temples.
  • If, when the harness is fastened it can be easily dislodged, it’s too big for you.

Also, remember to check that the harness on the hat is correctly fastened. This, normally consists of two parts – a chin strap, which sits under your jaw. The other fits round the back of your neck. Some hat may have a dial adjustment here to help you get the best possible fit. It’s this strap that helps to prevent your hat from tipping forwards onto your nose and why it’s important to check that it’s fastened correctly. If you’re in any doubt about how to secure this, pop into your local BETA-trained retailer and ask them to check it for you.

Tack good care of your hat

Hat-in-bag-for-web.jpg

Four tips to keep your hat in tip-top condition so it will take care of you when you need it:

1.     If your hat suffers an impact, such as a fall, or if you drop ito onto a hard surface, you should replace it, even if there’s no sign of damage. Damage to the inside may mean it no longer offers you the protection it should.

2.     You should replace your hat every three years. Over time the protective inner will deteriorate offering less protection.

3.     Store your hat in a cool dry place. Buying a padded hat bag to puut your hat in will help to keep it protected when it’s not in use, as well as keeping it clean.

4.     If you hat gets wet allow it to dry out natuarlly and slowly – never put ion a radiator to dry as this may damage it.

Know the safety standards

Whatever hat you’re looking to buy next, it should conform to one of the current standards and also have the CE Mark (a mandatory delcaration under EU law. All safety equipment must bear the CE mark to show that it meets the basic healthy and safety requirements).

VG1 (with or without Kitemark or IC Mark) - Similar testing specifiaction to the EN1384. This is an iterim specification for the purposes of CE marking. It’s unclear how long it will continue once the new version of EN 1384 appears on the market. Hats with the standard will be accpetmed by UK disicplines for some time to come.

PAS 015: 1998/2011 (with or without Kitemark or IC Mark) - PAS stands for product approval specifications which are developed by the British Safety Institute (BSI). The 2011 standard demands more from the hat than the previous one. 

ASTM F1163: 2004a/2015 (with SEI mark) - An American standard similar to PAS 015: 1998, but it’s testing doesn’t include mechnical strength (crushing). These hats oftern feature quite large ventilation holes.

Snell E2001/E2016 - Developed in the United States by the Snell Institute, this is a high-performance standard, which includes all aspects of ASTM and PAS 015, but the test includes a sharper horseshoe anvil, which replicates a kick from a horse, higher impacts and an additional hemispherical anvil to prepresent an uneven but not sharp surface such as a tree or fence.

Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products available on shop shelves, on sale now. Find out what’s in the latest issue here.

A guide to buying wellington boots

Picking the right pair of welly boots means you can wear them all year round.

 A good pair of wellington boots will provide comfort and grip all-year-round

A good pair of wellington boots will provide comfort and grip all-year-round

Here's our five tips for selecting the perfect pair of wellington boots.

1. Outer material

To decide which material your next pair of boots are made from, you need to ask yourself how much use they're going to get. Are they going to be your daily footwear and subjected to endless punishment., or will you just dust them off occasionally when needed?

There are two main choices of outer material

Plastic polymer polyurethane- boots made from this material are usually cheaper but can be stiff and less reliable in tough conditions.

Natural rubber is supple and moulds to your feet, while being extremely durable. 

2. Sole design

A good wellington boot should provide sure footing and traction on any surface. A narrow tread will offer better rip on a hard surface. A wider tread is better suited to soft, muddy conditions. A boot that combines both types of tread will give you the best security on all kinds of terrain. 

3. Comfort and support

A reinforced sole that doesn't over-flex can reduce fatigue and product extra arch support, while also acting as a shock absorber for increased comfort and foot support. 

4. Lining

There are three main options of lining;

Neoprene is a delight when it's cold but, although soft and squishy underfoot, cn be a little too cosy when the temperature rises.

Leather gives a truly luxurious feel, is surprisingly warm and breathable but, as you'd expect, they come with a higher price tag.

Jersey is a fantastic alternative; it's light and comfortable, even on warm days.

5. Fit

consider the size of your calves and your preferred fit. Ideally you're looking for a snug fit around your foot, leg and calf, which will provide maximum comfort and ease of movement. 

However, if they're too tight they can be uncomfortable and rub. It's worth considering the different types of clothing you'll wear throughout the year, such as thicker socks during the winter months.

Gussets with adjustable straps or full zips will help you find a comfortable fit .

Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, filled with the latest news, inspirational riding and horse care features plus all the exciting horsey products that recently hit the shelves.

Explore the Horseware range

From hardworking massage therapy rugs to riding tights offering the ultimate in functional style, Horseware has an extensive range of quality products you can trust. Here we showcase

Rambo Duo

 The Rambo Duo

The Rambo Duo

The ultimate all-season turnout rug, the Rambo Duo comes with a detachable liner and a detachable hood so that you can alter the warmth depending on the temperature. This best-selling turnout is now available in a brand new colour – burgundy with duck egg and black.

The outer material is a 1,000-dernier ballistic nylon which is waterproof, breathable, tough and durable. The rug has 100g of warm, heat-retaining thermobonded fibrefill, and a smooth, shine-enhancing anti-static and anti-bacterial polyester lining.

The 300g removable liner also has anti-static and anti-bacterial properties, and stays securely in place due to its liner loop system. A Surefit neck design with a V-front closure ensure the horse has freedom of movement to graze.

Other key features are leg arches, reflective safety strips, a wipe clean tail cord, 100g detachable hood and three secure cross surcingles.

Available in sizes 5’6 to 7’3
Priced at £359.95


Sportz-Vibe ZX Rug

Designed and created by the team who brought you Ice Vibe, Sportz-Vibe ZX is a massage therapy rug for horses. Comfortable, lightweight and portable, this rug is ideal as a warm up or recovery rug as it helps to warm up muscles before work and ease soreness and stiffness afterwards.

Using the latest wireless technology, it allows for a single remote to wirelessly control the integrated massage panels.

Using Sportz-Vibe ZX before exercise can help reduce the risk of injury as increasing blood flow to muscles, tendons and ligaments helps to make them more elastic. It can also help manage every day wear and tear, and help your horse to recover more quickly after hard work.

Sportz-Vibe’s massage action is gentle enough that it won’t over-work your horses’ muscles, but will effectively reduce muscle tension and the removable massage panels mean you can target a specific area.

Massage therapy is one of the oldest known methods of therapy, and is renowned for its ability to promote healing. Massage can help to reduce pain, improve blood supply to tissue, and reduce inflammation in horses that are suffering from long-term muscular back problems. By encouraging the lymph system to move, massage helps to drain inflammation and stimulate repair to damaged tissue.

Available in sizes 5’3 – 7’3
Priced at £561.95


Rambo Ionic Stable Sheet

The inner fabric of the Rambo Ionic Stable sheet is printed with a powdered form of tourmaline. This naturally occurring crystal releases negative ions, which in turn work to strengthen, stimulate and support a horse’s circulatory and endocrine system, increasing blood flow to the brain, muscles and other key parts of the body.

 The Rambo Ionic Stable Sheet

The Rambo Ionic Stable Sheet

Negative ion therapy not only increases the level of oxygen in the muscles, but also helps to clear toxins from the body. Rambo Ionic technology also restores the pH balance, reduces blood pressure and helps to remove toxins from the body.

Not only can Rambo Ionic technology be used for horses but it can also help humans.

The fabric of the blanket is highly wicking and durable, so it can be used while traveling and in the stable as well as before and after exercise to promote the well-being of the horse.

Available in sizes: 3’9 – 7’3
Priced at £135.95 – 163.95


 The Horseware Riding Tights in Galaxy Print

The Horseware Riding Tights in Galaxy Print

Horseware Riding Tights

Tried, tested and loved! The Horseware Riding tights are lightweight and breathable, with anti-bacterial and wicking fabric for perfect comfort for riding. These state-of-the-art, multi-functional riding tights include cool mesh side panels as well as micro-fibre knee and inside leg patches for added durability. The streamline design includes side pockets to fit a mobile phone, a smooth self-fabric waist for comfort and reflective logo for improved visibility.

These riding tights are functional, yet stylish and comfortable and are a great choice for hacking, schooling and everyday riding. Available in the brand new limited edition galaxy print, these tights are a must for your wardrobe!

RRP: £56.95
Sizes: XXS-XXL
Colours: Limited edition Galaxy print, black and charcoal


Discover the complete range at www.horseware.com


Tips for buying a second-hand horse trailer

 Take a good look around the trailer for any signs of wear or damage

Take a good look around the trailer for any signs of wear or damage

Need some new transport for your horse? Looking for some advice on buying a secondhand trailer? We can help!

If a new trailer isn’t an option, buying secondhand can prove more affordable.

There are plenty of used trailers for sale and you’re sure to find something for your budget, but before you part with your cash, whether you’re buying privately or through a dealer, when you go to view any potential purchase, run through our handy checklist:

What to look for in a secondhand horse trailer

1 First impressions count - does it look clean, tidy and does it fit the description in the ad?

2 All new trailers are security marked and given a unique serial number (usually on the manufacturer’s plate), so check this is genuine.

 Hitch up and check all the lights work

Hitch up and check all the lights work

3 Look for signs of leaking in the roof and check that any ventilation grills or windows are easy to use.

4 Lift any floor matting to check for rot or cracks, and bear in mind aluminium flooring is stronger and lasts longer than wood.

5 Lift any matting on the ramp and check for rot and damage, paying attention to the hinges for signs of wear and tear, too. Ensure it’s easy to lift.

6 Raise and lower the trailer using the jockey wheel, and check that both the electric connection and the trailer’s breakaway cable are in good condition.

7 Test the handbrake and, ideally, ask the seller to hitch the trailer up for a test tow.

8 Once you’re hitched up, check all the lights work, including the indicators, brakes and internal lights.

9 All tyres, including the spare, need to have a good amount of tread (a minimum of 1.6mm – though more than 3mm is ideal). Any uneven wear could signal suspension problems with the trailer.

10. On purchase Ask for a signed receipt that includes the seller’s address.

How to choose the right riding helmet

Your riding hat is the most important piece of equestrian kit you’ll buy so, if yours is damaged or you’re in the market for a new one use our helpful buyer’s guide to choose the right riding helmet.

 If your riding hat no longer meets the required standards, or if it's damaged, you'll need to get shopping for a new one

If your riding hat no longer meets the required standards, or if it's damaged, you'll need to get shopping for a new one

Riding hat safety standards

When you’re deciding on a new hat, first and foremost consider what activities you do with your horse.

If you compete you’ll need to check the rules of each governing body (e.g. British Eventing or British Showjumping) to ensure that the hat you want to buy is allowed.

In addition you must be up to date on hat standards. Here’s what’s

EN1384 1996 / BSEN 1384 1997/ BSEN1384 2012 (with or without Kitemark mark)

This range of standards can still be worn for hacking and hunting but as of 2016, most riding bodies no longer allow you to compete wearing this standard of hat.

VG1 (with or without Kitemark or IC Mark)

Developed by Vertical Group 1, who test and certify hats around Europe, this testing specification is based on the EN1384, but with additional requirements and testing procedures to bring it up to a level similar to PAS015.

 A well-fitting riding hat will keep you safe and comfortable, every time you ride

A well-fitting riding hat will keep you safe and comfortable, every time you ride

PAS015: 2011 (with or without Kitemark mark or IC Mark)

This stands for Product Approval Specification (PAS) and was developed by the British Standards Institute (BSI).

This standard was revised in 2011 to include testing at an increased drop height and several other amendments to improve the performance of this standard.

Snell E2001

This standard was developed in America by the Snell Institute.

It’s a higher performance standard which includes all aspects of the American Society for testing and Materials (ASTM) and PAS 015 but with the addition of testing with a sharper horseshoe anvil (to replicate a horse kick or impact with a sharp surface).

It’s also been tested for higher impacts and with an additional hemispherical anvil to represent an uneven but not a sharp surface such as a fence or tree.

Ensure your riding hat fits

Comfort and fit are essential and, as different brands offer varying styles and fittings, it’s vital to use a qualified hat fitter to help you find a hat that suits your head.

After all, only a properly fitted riding hat will provide you with the maximum level of protection in the event of a fall.

Your hat should fit your head snugly with the front sitting no more than about 11/2in or two fingers above your eyebrows.

If your hat can be easily dislodged when the chinstrap is fastened, it’s too big. It’s also important to note that there’s no guarantee a second hand hat comes damage free so always buy new.